Being heard: the role of family members in bilingual medical consultations

Louisa Willoughby, Simon Musgrave, Marisa Cordella, Julie Bradshaw

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


In medical consultations, patients with limited English may seek the support of interpreters, and may also bring family members to assist them. This transforms the archetypal doctor-patient dyad into a multiparty interaction in which others may speak for the patient: the patient s attempts to present their symptoms and concerns are filtered through the representations of others, trained and untrained. Four medical consultations with older Italian-Australian patients are examined to identify how the interaction is managed between doctors, patients, family members and interpreters (where present). The family members vary in the roles they play in establishing the medical facts and supporting or challenging the patient s claims, creating a more complex discourse for doctor and interpreter to negotiate.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntersections: Applied Linguistics as a Meeting Place
EditorsElke Stracke
Place of PublicationNewcastle upon Tyne UK
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Pages22 - 42
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9781443866545
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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